Boise State forces 4 turnovers, knocks off No. 10 BYU 26-17

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Alexander Teubner

Boise State safety Alexander Teubner (34) celebrates a BYU fumble recovery in the first half during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Hank Bachmeier threw for 172 yards and Boise State forced four turnovers in a 26-17 upset victory over No. 10 BYU on Saturday.

Cyrus Habibi-Likio ran for a season-high 75 yards and a touchdown, and Andrew Van Buren added a season-high 60 yards and a touchdown to help the Broncos (3-3) snap a two-game losing streak in the series.

The Broncos held the Cougars (5-1) to a single touchdown over the final three quarters after blowing second-half leads in losses to UCF and Nevada.

“We finally finished the second half,” Bachmeier said. “I think we’ve always been capable of doing it.”

Jaren Hall threw for a career-high 302 yards and a touchdown for BYU, and Tyler Allgeier ran for 73 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars outgained Boise State 413-312 in total yards.

“I felt like we moved the ball pretty well, except for a couple of drives,” Hall said. “We just didn’t take care of the ball and did a lot of uncharacteristic things … and put our defense in a tough spot several times. That’s pretty much the story of the game for us.”

Hall looked sharp during the first quarter despite a two-game absence with a rib injury. He completed long passes to open each of BYU’s first two drives. Hall punctuated the second drive with a 14-yard strike to Samson Nacua that made it 10-0.

Boise State rallied to take a 20-10 halftime, capitalizing on back-to-back BYU fumbles. The Broncos became the first opponent to lead the Cougars at any point this season.

“Early on there, the first couple of drives they had success,” Boise State coach Andy Avalos said. “It was about getting settled in and not getting rattled.”

The Broncos tied it when Cyrus Habibi-Likio broke free for an 11-yard sprint. Scott Matlock recovered a fumble by Allgeier at the BYU 24 to set up Boise State’s first touchdown.

Boise State went ahead 17-10 on a 1-yard plunge from Andrew Van Buren. The Broncos’ second touchdown came five plays after Lopini Katoa fumbled a kickoff return at the BYU 23.

Our defense has done a really good job of getting the ball back to the offense this year,” Boise State linebacker Riley Whimpey said. “A couple of those turnovers came at crucial points in the game and set up our offense with great field position and they capitalized.

The Cougars struggled to rally after repeatedly failing to convert in the red zone in the second half. Katoa’s second fumble stopped one drive at the Broncos 13. An incomplete fourth-down pass from Hall stopped a second drive at the Boise State 5.

BYU finally cut it to 23-17 midway through the fourth quarter on a 1-yard plunge by Allgeier. A 59-yard catch by Gunner Romney on the opening play of the drive set up the score.

Jonah Dalmas hit a 22-yard field goal with 3:27 left and Kaonohi Kaniho picked off a pass from Hall at the Broncos 11 to seal it.

“I saw a lot of mistakes,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “Against a good team it’s hard to overcome those mistakes.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Boise State: Strong defensive play helped the Broncos run off 23 straight points. An ability to stifle BYU when it mattered helped Boise State overcome a mediocre outing on offense.

BYU: Back-to-back second quarter turnovers ripped away any offensive momentum the Cougars generated during the first quarter. BYU struggled to convert in the red zone throughout the second half.

ROAD WARRIOR

Boise State’s victory over BYU broke a lengthy road drought for the Mountain West Conference against AP Top 10 teams. The Broncos became the league’s first team to beat a Top 10 opponent on the road in a nonconference game since TCU upset Oklahoma in 2005.

NO TAKEAWAYS

BYU did not force any turnovers against the Broncos. The Cougars came into the game with 10 takeaways in their first five games while giving up only two turnovers in that same stretch.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Losing to a sub .500 Boise State team will cause BYU to take a tumble in the AP Top 25.

UP NEXT

Boise State: Hosts Air Force on Saturday.

BYU: At Baylor on Saturday.

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